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best brunch place?

My best girl friend is coming into town from Chicago in two weeks- I want to give her fab brunch and dinner. Any recommendations? We live downtown. We'd like to walk. We love the downtown scene.

Thanks for the thoughts!

On a separate note - My husband and I moved two months ago from Chicago and love food and wine. Anyone who has the mindset and would love to do a foursome for dinner, please send me an email.

Kate.

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  1. For brunch I would recommend Magnolia Cafe, Blue Dahlia or Sagra. I hope you and your friend have fun while in town!

    1 Reply
    1. re: k_mccasland

      I will take those under consideration. We have been to Anniee's, Magnolia and Moonshine for brunch.

    2. Taverna does a good brunch with Dollar mimosas. Green pastures is pricey but has EVERYTHING and a great ambiance. My favorite brunch place with the girls is "The Park". $1 mimosas in 5 flavors (fav. is the pineapple basil) you can do the buffet for $15 or order from the menu

      3 Replies
        1. re: dinaofdoom

          yes, in the domain. I t the bottom of the Loft hotel/condos

          1. re: amykragan

            i didn't realize they did brunch. our office goes for HH sometimes.

      1. Not quite downtown, but my pick would be Paggi House. There's a nice, high quality buffet + maybe 5-6 order off the menu items, all for one price - I think around $24? Something like that. The space is lovely and you can see the city from the front patio. Or, if you must stay downtown, I like the brunch offerings at TRACE in the W.

        For dinner, depends on what you're going for. Lambert's for upscale BBQ, La Condesa for modern Mexican, La Traviata for the best carbonara in town.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Optimista

          I'm going to have to check out the paggi house brunch, thanks for the suggestion.

          Out of curiosity, what do you recommend from Lambert's? If you like the BBQ, have you tried any of the other good BBQ restaurants in town? Franklins, lockhart trio, snows, JMueller etc? Do you think that lamberts is in the same league or is it just ok and in a nice location?

          1. re: chrisdds98

            I may be overly hard on Lambert's after a day of post-brunch hell, but I do not put their BBQ in the same league or even close to Franklin's and Mueller's and their peers in Lockhart and elsewhere.

            1. re: chrisdds98

              I like Lambert's, but i think of it as a completely different animal than Franklin's, Snow's, etc. The latter is the real deal. Lambert's is a fancied-up version (think espresso rub) and can be a fun place to take an out-of-towner for dinner because there is live music and cocktails (also, more vegetarian/pescatarian-friendly options than most BBQ places).

              I will say, though, that I was not at all impressed with Lambert's brunch. I much prefer them for an order-off-the-menu meal.

              1. re: Optimista

                after browsing your blog and yelp reviews I think we have similar taste, but I could never understand your defense of lamberts! after reading this, it makes more sense to me. Oddly enough, I do like their brunch. they make a good eggs benedict and I like most of their cooked to order brunch items. never had any complaints with their cocktails either.

                that being said, I'd be embarrassed to take a friend from KC, Memphis, or Carolina to Lamberts and tell them it was decent texas bbq

                1. re: chrisdds98

                  @chrisdds98 - I don't disagree. If I had a friend visiting from out of town and they were all about a real Texas BBQ experience, I'd take them to one of the other places you mentioned. But sometimes when I'm entertaining visitors, I want to give them a bit of a nicer/more festive night out; in those instances, I turn to Lambert's.

            1. Best brunch? Lambert's, Green Pastures (for real), Perla's, Mulberry.

              Dinner downtown? Parkside, Uchi, Second.

              Just thoughts, and I'm better informed at brunch, having been to almost every brunch in town. The Park and Taverna are horrendous-- imagine the testosterone, estrogen, alcohol, and noise of a Saturday night coupled with the hangover of a Sunday morning.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bubbleboy79

                I've yet to find my sweet spot at Second after three visits. What do you like there, @bubbleboy79? (besides the truffle fries...that is the one thing I've been really excited about).

                1. re: Optimista

                  Pappardelle, charcuterie, wine list, brussels, normally one of the rotating salads, the aforementioned fries, an occasional ravioli, Friends like the pizzas; me not so much. I go there to share. Throw in two reliable hits, and two unknowns, and it normally works out well.

                  Also, the lack of a sweet spot: that's me and La Condesa, though I have a million recs for next time.

                  1. re: bubbleboy79

                    Thanks for the recs, @bubbleboy79. I'll note those for my next Second visit.

                    I think we may have had the La Condesa conversation before. It took me three tries before I fell in love with them. Now I'm a huge fan. I think the small plates are where they really shine. Desserts are outstanding, too.

              2. Four seasons right now, sunday morning, at Trio just may be the best brunch in the downtown area. And you'll pay through the nose for it. But the gardens, ambience, etc. make for a perfect setting on a low humidity morning before the heat starts crushing.

                1. I absolutely love brunch at Zax (recommend a reservation). The ambiance is charming, the people watching is good and the menu and food are terrific.

                  We've enjoyed Zax eggs benedict on crab cakes, the Cajun eggs on polenta and other breakfast dishes... no complaints and much happiness. What I really enjoy, as I'm not too big on breakfasts very often, is that I can order steamed mussels, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, etc. at brunch. For me, it's a huge benefit.

                  Here's their brunch menu: http://zaxaustin.com/menus/view/4

                  Almost left out their spicy, delicious housemade pepper vodka bloody mary... also a bloody mary bar if you are so inclined.